Kendrick Lamar is a rapper/hip-hop artist from Compton, California. Kendrick made his debut, with his song “Ignorance is Bliss” in 2010. He became even more relevant to the hip-hop scene when he appeared on the 2011 BET Hip-Hop Music Awards in the cypher with artists like Tech N9ne, Machine Gun Kelly, Big K.R.I.T, and B.O.B, which was my in my opinion the best BET cypher from that year. Kendrick then gained massive success with his release of 2012’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City and his single “Swimming Pools (Drank)” which hit number 17 on the US Billboard Top 100- gaining Kendrick a substantial amount of radio play. Kendrick’s most recent album To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) was his third studio album to be released. This album put Kendrick in the spotlight again, with conflicting reviews from multiple different publishers. On January 13th, 2016 he released a 7-minute short-film entitled “God Is Gangsta”. Read Amanda’s review of the video below.
The video starts by hearing faint dripping noises, Kendrick spazzes out in a room alone- drink in hand. As the dripping stops, the yelling starts. You see Kendrick scream and hear the faint tune of a saxophone in the background. It’s a very haunting image, seeing Kendrick in a new, emotionally distorted light. You can tell he’s really trying to dissect and portray the sentiment behind the lyrics. He repeats the lyric “Loving you is complicated,“ which he pretty much yells at one point. You see Kendrick progressively become more and more intoxicated, showing his tendencies of self-destruction and loathing. He’s really trying to depict the intensity of the alcohol and how it brings his harsh, overwhelming inner-feelings to the forefront. The skiddish, inane tendencies Kendrick presents shows his internal, external conflict trying to battle in his mind with one another. The mirror in the background cracks, hinting towards an insecurity complex. You see Kendrick get into the screen of the camera and spit lyrics like:
“You the reason, mom and them leaving- you ain’t shit. You say you love em, I know you don’t mean it. I know you irresponsible, selfish- in denial can’t help it. Your trials and tribulations a burden- everyone felt it.”
He continues on with the lyrics trying to convey the inner conflict with his fame in relation to his family. Kendrick explains how the issues of being famous conflict with his life back home. How he missed the death of a close friend’s little brother because of his job and his social stature. His lyrics come from the viewpoint of what people are telling him, putting him down and claiming he has been consumed by the limelight and the luxuries it brings. He’s not there for the people he cares for and they hold a sense of animosity towards Kendrick. Which puts into perspective they way he spits the lyrics, so full of such raw emotion- it seems like he’s pretty much having a mental breakdown. The sound of a saxophone rings through the air, as Kendrick takes another shot of his liquor. Drowning his sorrows, his feelings of guilt.
“Clearance sale 100% off” the screen reads. The video cuts to a scene with a swimming pool, looking as if Kendrick is attempting to repent his sins to Jesus. He’s dressed in mostly white, accompanied by a man who resembles the stereotypical depiction of Jesus, next to him. It pans from that scene to a club scene, the screen flashes- “Life is like a box of chicken.” Club scene, “Instagram 2016: Dussy Unlimited.” The screen transitions from the Jesus scene, to naked women. “Good Dussy can make you melt”. “Always trust a n**** with cornrows”. The video transitions to and from the Jesus, club and naked women scenes. Depicting the struggles with balancing each of the sins, as well as attempting to repent for them. The video ends with him at a club and then transitions to him coming up from water with the words “God is Gangsta”.
Check out Kendrick’s new video above! If you’re as confused as I am with the short film and want an in depth analysis of the video you can find it here on Rap Genius.